World demand for desalination products and services is projected to increase 9.1 percent annually to $13 billion in 2013, according to a report by The Freedonia Group (www.freedoniagroup.com). The report predicts that areas with scarce or compromised water supplies will increasingly turn to thermal or membrane desalination techniques to supply water to households and industrial users. Freedonia says much of the expansion in demand for desalination products will be the product of advances in technologies, such as reverse osmosis (RO) and multiple-effect distillation (MED).

Traditionally, Freedonia says desalination uptake has been limited due to its high cost. However, the report says recent advances have increased the efficiency of desalination and reduced the price point such that the technology is now more accessible.

Early adopters of desalination, such as the Middle East and North Africa, who were forced to employ the technology due to scarce water resources, figure to continue to dominate the market. The Asia/Pacific region is expected to be the fastest growing region through 2013.